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2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Overview

Among the premier drop-top roadrunners flogging the world’s asphalt is the venerable Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. For 2015, this ultra-posh 2-seat potentate gains a V6-powered linemate in the debuting SL400 Roadster that brings this hardtop convertible into the price range of even B-league polo pony owners.

The latest SL-Class edition joins the SL550, the SL 63 AMG and the outrageously outfitted SL65 AMG. Each returns to the luxury roadster market with turbocharged power, world-class handling and a warehouse full of plush amenities. The hardtop convertible feature, complete with fixed glass sunroof, lets you enjoy sun and wind in season, while those dwelling in northern climes can cruise relatively unfazed by wintry weather worries. And, despite the fact that some may find a few too many bulges in its profile, there’s no denying that the SL-Class continues to represent the high-end Euro-cruising that has intrigued those well-heeled aficionados of agility for close to three generations.

For 2015, the brand new SL400 Roadster boasts a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder that comes under the management of a standard 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission to the tune of 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Offering engine stop/start technology, the SL400 is expected to offer at least somewhat better gas mileage than its V8-powered siblings (though EPA estimates are as yet unavailable). Furthermore, at least one track test had this latest addition to the SL-Class Roadster lineup doing 0-60 mph in an impressive 5.1 seconds.

Should that not be quick enough, the next-up SL550 returns toting a 429-hp, 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 along with the ubiquitous 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission that manages 516 lb-ft of torque. Track tests measure this turbocharged V8 going from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, with gas mileage estimated at 18 mpg city/25 highway using premium-grade gasoline.

Moving up to M-B’s track-inspired SL63 AMG, a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine combines with a tweaked version of the 7-speed shiftable automatic that sports selectable drive modes to suit your need for speed. Look for 530 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque from the standard version of this potent powerplant, while an available Performance Package boosts those numbers to 557 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes claims this Performance Package gives the boosted SL63 AMG a top speed of 180 mph, not to mention a 0-60 time under 4 seconds flat. Expect 16/25 from the standard version of this mighty mill.

Speaking of mighty, the 2015 SL65 AMG returns packing an over-the-top 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine, again with the 7-speed shiftable automatic, which in this instance boasts “speedshift” programming that comes out of Mercedes’ AMG racing division. Driver-selectable shift points in the 7-speed automatic are complemented by selectable suspension damping to help this flagship model accelerate from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds and handle S-curves with admirable aplomb while burning gas at a 14/21 clip.

Seeing as the 2015 SL-Class is, after all, a Mercedes, one expects a certain amount of European-inspired plush. Well, you won't be disappointed with the 18- or 20-inch alloy wheels, the fixed sunroof, the leather upholstery the full power accessories or the heated power-adjustable sport seats that come standard throughout the lineup. Additionally, all trims offer standard cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, Bluetooth-integrated mbrace infotainment, a remote garage door opener and memory for driver settings to go with dual-zone auto climate control, GPS navigation and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Entertainment-wise, the 3 lower trims boast a 600-watt Harman Kardon audio system featuring 11 Surround Sound speakers, a single-CD player, satellite radio and a memory-card slot. The SL65 AMG, meantime, gets an upgraded Bang & Olufsen system offering 900 watts and 14 speakers.

As you go up the chain of goodies, look for such added standards in higher trims as a rear-view camera and massaging seats, as well as front and rear parking sensors. An electrochromatic glass sunroof further adorns the top-shelf SL65 AMG.

Optional equipment includes — besides the SL63 AMG’s Performance Package — genuine wood cabin inserts, carbon fiber accents, ceramic brakes, a split-view display screen with separate images for driver and passenger, and safety-minded Night View Assist technology to boost night-vision capabilities.

Further standard safety equipment in the 2015 SL-Class drop-top lineup, finally, includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control and front side-mounted airbags with head protection chambers. Turn-signal-integrated mirrors, meanwhile, are complemented by standard adaptive high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights and daytime running lights in all trims, while mbrace emergency telecommunications, a post-collision safety system and a remote antitheft alarm also add to the safety and security of all SL-Class variations. The SL65 AMG includes the Driver Assistance Package with pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance onto the list of standard safety features, with the same package offered as an additional option for lower trims.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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